November 9, 2016

Wise Giving Wednesday: 45,000 Veterans Organizations

On Veterans Day, many Americans will seek to remember and honor veterans by contributing to charities and other nonprofit organizations that address a variety of issues and needs facing veterans, military service members and/or their families. The challenge, however, is how to make a wise giving decision among the over 45,000 organizations in the United States that address these issues. While the majority of these organizations are small  organizations that bring in less than $50,000 a year, there are still quite a number of larger veterans groups from which to choose.

To help donors make informed decisions about such contributions to veterans organizations, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips.

  • Look at the Name Carefully. It’s easy to be confused as many veterans’ charities include virtually the same words in different order or slightly different form. So, be alert and make sure the organization you are considering is the one you want to support.
  • Find Out What They Do. Don’t assume what the veterans organization does based on their name alone. Look for a clear description of the organization’s programs in its appeals and on its website.
  • Be Careful About Phone Appeals. If not managed properly, some telemarketing campaigns for veterans organizations can be an expensive way to raise funds with very little going to the organization. If called, do not hesitate to ask for written information on the charity’s programs and finances before making a donation.
  • Be Wary of Excessive Pressure.  Don’t be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation to a veterans organization. Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.
  • Learn How Donated Items Will Be Used. Find out how the charity benefits from the collection and resale of used clothing and other in-kind gifts. Sometimes the charity receives only a small portion of the resale price of the item or may have a contractual arrangement to get a flat fee for every household pick-up, no matter what the contents.
  • Check with Outside Sources Before Giving: In addition to charity reports on Give.org, check with your state government’s charity registration agency, usually a division of the Attorney General’s office. 

Of course, charities devoted to the various needs of veterans and their families deserve our support throughout the year and not just on Veterans Day. But for those donors thinking of making a special contribution in honor of Veterans Day, we urge them to check out the organization before they donate.  The list below includes the 10 largest (in terms of total revenue) BBB Accredited national veterans charities (i.e. meets all 20 BBB Charity Standards).

  1. Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
  2. USO
  3. Disabled American Veterans
  4. Operation Homefront
  5. Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
  6. Homes for Our Troops
  7. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
  8. Military Child Education Coalition
  9. Travis Manion Foundation
  10. Blinded Veterans Association

Remember the BBB Wise Giving Alliance is here to help you verify the trustworthiness of charities that solicit your support.

We hope the above provides some guidance and welcome you to learn more at Give.org


As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide the following video that features Lieutenant General Pete Osman, USMC (Ret.), President and CEO,  Marine Toys for Tots Foundation (a BBB Accredited Charity) which helps collect and distribute millions of new and unwrapped toys as Christmas gifts for less fortunate children.

 


Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are  interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. 

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance